World Asthma Day: Common Asthma Myths That Need to be Corrected
In celebration of World Asthma Day, an annual event organized by the “Global Initiative for Asthma” (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and care around the world, GSK Philippines unveils “ASTHMAlaya Ka Ba Talaga? campaign, a disease awareness initiative that also seeks to encourage asthma patients, to be more proactive in consulting their doctors on how they can achieve asthma control.
The celebration was participated by advocates from Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP) and the Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Inc. (PSAAI) who are one with the advocacy of furthering awareness and urgency among patients to consult their doctors for proper asthma control.
The Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP) a value centered specialty organization acknowledged as the authority in pulmonary medicine in the country. PCCP defines Asthma as: a heterogenous disease usually characterized chronic airway inflammation. It is defined by the history of respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and cough that vary over time and intensity, together with variable expiratory airflow limitation.
Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) released an “Assessment of Symptom Control” to determine if a patient’s asthma symptom is (1) well controlled, (2) partly controlled, or, (3) uncontrolled.
The PCCP also listed and answered the common Asthma myths that needs to be corrected:
Eating Geckos (Tuko) to Cure Asthma
- Lizard or geckos are often dried, grilled or fried and then consumed by the sufferer, supposedly to cure asthma and other diseases like cancer and HIV. To debunk this myth, the Philippine government even issued a warning against the use of these poor creatures as a cure.
- Collecting and trading geckos without permit can result a fine of 300,000 pesos and a jail time of up to four months.
- There are claims the innards of the ” TUKO” contains a powerful enzyme that can stop or cure tumor cells, treat asthma while the meat is turned into powder to be ingested as medicine.
Health authorities belie all these reports as “myth” declaring that there has yet to be a medical research to support such claim . (Source: Balita/ July 30, 2011)
Asthma Medicine is Only Needed to Stop an Attack
- That depends. People who have mild, moderate and severe persistent asthma need a daily long term controller medicine, usually an inhaled corticosteroid, to control inflammation and minimize asthma attack.
People can Outgrow Asthma
- Asthma is a chronic, treatable condition that develops in childhood. It’s no longer considered a disease that children “outgrow,” however, symptoms may improve during adolescence and adulthood.
- When asthma is diagnosed for the first time in an adult, it’s likely that the condition is present, but mild and undetected earlier.
Asthma is Easy to Control
- This often depends on how well you follow your asthma treatment plan- the condition can be difficult to manage. Goals of treatment include preventing chronic symptoms and asthma flares, maintaining normal lung function and activity levels, and avoiding serious or long term medication side effects.
Allergies have Nothing to do with Asthma
- Inflamed airways in people who have asthma are more sensitive to allergens and allergens are common asthma triggers.
- According to recent studies, more than 50% of asthma cases in the USA are linked to allergies.
- Common allergens include cats, pollen, mold and dust mites.
People with Asthma Shouldn’t Exercise
- Regular exercise can improve lung function and help maintain a healthy weight- reducing asthma risk and help breath easier.
- Talk to a pulmonary doctor or asthma specialist before beginning and exercise program.
- It’s the only trigger that should not be avoided. (note of exercise induced asthma in some patients)
People with Asthma can’t get the Flu Shot
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for people who have asthma.
- Flu can trigger an asthma attack.
Moving to a Dry Climate can Cure Asthma
- A change in environment can temporarily improve asthma symptoms, but it won’t cure the disease. To reduce asthma triggers at home: have your air conditioner unit cleaned every year and change the filter as needed, keep your windows closed during pollen season, and use a dehumidifier if living in a damp climate.
Asthma Medicines are Habit Forming
- Medications used to treat asthma are not addictive; however, because asthma is a chronic disease, long term use of medicine is often needed to manage the condition and prevent an attack.
It’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendation for treatment, even when symptoms are well controlled.
Asthma is a Psychological Condition
- Asthma causes the lungs and the immune system to overreact to certain triggers. Asthma is a disease of inflammation of the lungs, although stress and emotions can sometimes exacerbate asthma symptoms, related to fast and heavy breathing.
Steroids Used to Treat Asthma are the Same as the Steroids Used by Athletes to get Bigger and Stronger
- The steroids used by athletes are testosterone, growth hormone and androstenedione; the steroid used in asthma are glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid derivatives
When I feel fine and have no symptoms it is because the Asthma has gone away
- You still have asthma even when you feel fine and have no symptoms. Your asthma can be partially or well controlled depending on frequency and timing of symptoms, use of medications and impact on everyday quality of life.
Nebulizers are the best way to give Asthma medicines to babies and children
- Medicines given by metered dose inhaler with spacer with face mask is just as effective
Dietary Supplements can help ease Asthma symptoms
- There is no proof that specific nutrients help treat asthma. (according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
- A variety of herbs and supplements have been studied, but none have been found to improve asthma.
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